Friday, June 28, 2019

0 Review and Giveaway: Project Duchess by @SabrinaJeffries @KensingtonBooks @hfvbt

Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries

Publication Date: June 25, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 352 Pages
Series: Duke Dynasty, Book 1
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

From New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries comes a sparkling new series about an oft-widowed mother’s grown children, who blaze through society in their quest for the truth about their fathers . . . and in the process find that love just might conquer all . . .

A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .

Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | iTunes | IndieBound | Kobo

Praise for Sabrina Jeffries’ previous novels

“Quick pacing, witty dialogue, and charmingly original characters set Jeffries’ books apart” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Master storyteller Jeffries is at the top of her game.” —RT Book Reviews, Top Pick on The Secret of Flirting

“Quick wit, lively repartee, and delicious sensuality drive the elaborate plot of this sinfully delightful addition to Jeffries’s latest series.” —Library Journal, starred review on The Pleasures of Passion

“With its irresistible combination of witty banter, well-defined characters, and a wonderful surfeit of breathtaking sensuality, the latest in Jeffries’ Sinful Suitors series is a straight flush.” —Booklist, starred review on The Danger of Desire

“Lovely, poignant, and powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Study of Seduction

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. This in no way influenced my opinion.

My Thoughts

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. This in no way influenced my opinion.

From the first moment Fletcher "Grey" Pryde meets Beatrice Wolfe sparks fly. At first, there's a bit of disdain, which is fulled by desire. Grey is called home when his mother is widowed and upon his arrival he meets the spunky Beatrice. They soon find that they have more in common than either of them imagined. However, there is fowl play afoot. Grey's brother thinks his stepfather may have been murdered and the Wolfe's might be the culprits. 

Family secrets, intrigues, love, dancing, and maybe a wedding? What more could a reader want? Sabrina Jeffries new Duke Dynasty series is a hit. I love the mystery element as much as the romance. Grey and Beatrice have great chemistry. I could have gobbled up this book in just one sitting. If you're looking for your next beach read, here it is! 

About the Author

Sabrina Jeffries is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels and works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas). Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions—jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With over 9 million books in print in more than 20 languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | InstagramGoodreads | BookBub

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 24
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, June 25
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, June 26

Thursday, June 27

Friday, June 28

Monday, July 1
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, July 2

Wednesday, July 3
Feature at Broken Teepee

Thursday, July 4

Friday, July 5


We have two paperback copies of Project Duchess up for grabs! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Project Duchess

Thursday, June 27, 2019

0 A new school doesn't always mean new friends: Week 10 of Sync's Summer of #Audiobooks

Available for a Limited Time
Remember — grab these titles before they are replaced by a new pairing on 7/4/2019! While the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to keep and listen to at your leisure. 

by Meg Medina | Read by Roxanne Hernandez
Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

"Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass.” That’s what some girl tells Piddy Sanchez one morning before school. Too bad Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui Delgado is, let alone what she’s done to piss her off. All Piddy knows is that Yaqui hates her—and she better watch her back because Yaqui isn’t kidding around. At first Piddy just focuses on trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off and running away from her problems? In this poignant and all-too-realistic story from award-winning author Meg Medina, Piddy is forced to decide exactly who she is versus who others are trying to make her become—and ultimately discovers a rhythm that is all her own.

by Katie Henry | Read by Michael Crouch
Published by HarperAudio

Put an atheist in a strict Catholic school? Expect comedy, chaos, and an Inquisition. The Breakfast Club meets Saved! in debut author Katie Henry’s hilarious novel about a band of misfits who set out to challenge their school, one nun at a time. Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Robyn Schneider.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

1 A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman Excerpt and Giveaway @Difreeman001 @KensingtonBooks @hfvbt

A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman

Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Kensington Publishing
Hardcover, eBook, AudioBook
Genre: Historical Mystery

How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out...

Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns.

Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?

Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them...


“What about Lottie as a match for Mr. Evingdon?”
I glanced over at Lottie in time to see the girl blush furiously. I should have seen this coming. Lily had invited her to visit during the next social season and allow me to introduce her to London society. Lottie’s mother favored the idea, but not the timing. She’d dropped her only daughter on our doorstep three weeks ago, like a twenty-one-year-old foundling, and took herself off to Paris to have a new wardrobe designed.
Or so she claimed.
Since her forwarding address was in care of the Comte De Beaulieu, I found her cover story rather weak. The Comte was the notorious libertine British husbands considered all Frenchmen to be. And penniless in the bargain. If he had designs on anything, it was likely Mrs. Deaver’s pin money. Considering the large bank draft she provided to cover her daughter’s expenses, and my own of course, I suspected her pin money to be substantial, and Mr. Deaver was unlikely to miss it or his wife. If the gossip from my mother’s letters was true, Mrs. Deaver so scandalized the matrons of New York, none of them would let their sons near Lottie. 
Considering Mrs. Deaver’s reputation across the pond, it was perhaps for the best that she moved on before she could establish one here. But while I appreciated the extra funds, I was left with the problem of what to do with Lottie. The unfortunate young lady sought an aristocratic husband during a time when the aristocrats were all tucked away at their country homes preparing to shoot red grouse as soon as the Glorious Twelfth arrived.
There were few social events this late in the summer, which meant we had her company all to ourselves for the weeks she’d been here. She was a pretty girl of medium height, slender, as fashion decreed, with an oval face framed by an abundance of russet hair. I found her to be endlessly interested in everything. As I told Sir Hugo, she was easy to entertain. She was also determined to be helpful. I learned very quickly, accepting her assistance could be dangerous.
If I allowed her to arrange the flowers, she’d only break the vase and spill the water. I’d once asked her to fetch a book from a shop just a few blocks away. She’d neglected to take a maid and, lost in thought, she wandered so far out of the neighborhood, three of us had to go out in search of her. A search that took several hours from my day and, I suspect, a few years off my life as I imagined her abducted and sold into slavery. How would I ever have explained that to her family?
She seemed always to have a spot on her dress, ink on her fingers, and a trail of destruction in her wake, but it was clear she always had the best of intentions. In fact, she was very endearing and I liked her a great deal, if only I could keep her from touching anything.
But as a match for Charles? I wasn’t quite sure who would make a good match for Lottie, but I’d never have picked him. For one, his home had far too many priceless antiques to be broken. For another, though I protested Aunt Hetty’s saying it, he was a bit of a dunderhead. Lottie needed someone to help her navigate the twists and turns of society. That would not be Charles.
There was one objection I could make. “It would probably be wise to find out from Mr. Evingdon why he didn’t form an attachment to Mrs. Archer before I introduce him to anyone else.”
 “What did you say her name was?”
I glanced up to see Hetty watching me over the turned-down corner of her newspaper.
“Mary Archer. Why?”
Hetty twisted her lips into a grimace. “It appears Mr. Evingdon is correct in this matter. Whatever divided them, he’ll have no opportunity to reconcile with Mrs. Archer.”
Confused, I stared at my aunt. “What are you saying?”
“I’m sorry to give you this news, Frances, but I just read about her in the paper. It appears she’s been murdered.”

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Advance praise for A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder

“Readers will enjoy playing amateur sleuth as they learn what really might be going on behind closed doors in 1899’s best British homes.” —Heather Redmond, author of A Tale of Two Murders

“The full cast of talkative aristocrats, the lighthearted tone, and the fast pace will keep readers actively engaged. This would make a wonderful introduction to cozy mysteries for fans of Regency or Victorian romance, and it will also hit the mark for followers of Elizabeth Peters and Deanna Raybourn.” —Booklist

“A charming period mystery with enough sexual tension and credible suspects to keep the reader guessing.” –Kirkus

Praise for A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder

“Fans of Georgette Heyer will appreciate the hints of romance, while aficionados of Deanna Raybourn or D.M. Quincy will delight in the banter-filled dialog and period details.”—Library Journal, Starred Review

“Fans of witty, lighthearted Victorian mysteries will be enthralled.”- Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“This lighthearted debut tale of mystery, love, and a delightful sleuth will leave you wanting more—which is presumably just what Freeman has in mind.”– Kirkus Reviews

“A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy. Lady Frances feels very real—not too smart and spunky but no shrinking violet either.” —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author

About the Author

Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She's been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 25
Review at Book Frolic
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, June 26
Review at Macsbooks

Thursday, June 27

Friday, June 28

Saturday, June 29

Sunday, June 30

Monday, July 1

Tuesday, July 2
Interview at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, July 3

Thursday, July 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, July 5
Review at A Darn Good Read
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Saturday, July 6
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story


During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a paperback copy of A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder and a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder

Monday, June 24, 2019

0 Audiobook Review: Murder on Thames Cherringham.

Murder on Thames Cherringham. A Cosy Crime Series - Mystery Shorts 1
By: Neil Richards, Matthew Costello
Narrated by: Neil Dudgeon
Published August 29th 2016 by Lübbe Audio
Length: 2 hrs and 47 mins


Cherringham-a quiet town in the Cotswolds. Nothing ever happens there, or so it seems-until one morning a woman's body is found in the river. A terrible accident, according to the police. But is this true? Sarah believes there must be more to it. In Jack, a former NYPD homicide detective, she finds a partner who is willing to start investigating with her. They soon find out that things are not as clear as the police want them to be ... This first of many cases brings Sarah and Jack together in an unlikely partnership.

Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, this cozy detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Thrilling and deadly-but with a spot of tea-it's like Rosamunde Pilcher meets Inspector Barnaby. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick listen for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.

*I was provided a copy of this audiobook from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

My Thoughts

Murder on Thames is a Cozy Crime Mystery Short by Neil Richard and Mathew Costello. It's narrated by Neil Didgeon, who starred in Midsomer Murders. I often hear these mystery shorts are great to listen to/read on a rainy afternoon with a nice cup of tea. I have no doubt that's true, but I listened to it on a sunny day while doing chores. I couldn't imagine enjoying this book anymore than I already do.

Murder on Thames takes place in the quiet town of Cherringham. Not much happens there, but when the body of a woman is found next to the river, it shakes things up. Was it a terrible accident, or was it murder? Sarah, a friend of the deceased, isn't convinced that it's an accident. She teams up with a former NYPD homicide detective to find out the truth about her friend.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. The plot  kept me engaged. The characters are brilliant. For the audiobook to be less than three hours, the story line seemed fully formed and not rushed. I loved the narration too. Neil Didgeon does a fantastic job. He narrates the entire series, and I'm so glad. I can't imagine anybody else doing it. This is the perfect book to read/listen to on your way to work, in the quiet evening, or while you're doing chores, and always better with a hot cuppa!

Friday, June 21, 2019

0 Twice-told tales: Week 9 of Sync's Summer of #Audiobooks

Available for a Limited Time
Remember — grab these titles before they are replaced by a new pairing on 6/27/2019! While the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to keep and listen to at your leisure. 

by Lorie Langdon | Read by Pearl Hewitt
Published by Black Hills Audiobooks

Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she’s taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can't seem to escape her past…or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrape to survive. Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London's East End to become the adopted "nephew" of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger—or that he and his "aunt" are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew?

by Emma Donoghue | Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham
Published by Hachette Audio

The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue’s stories have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters, lovers old and new. They are gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves. They cross other borders too: those of race, law, sex, and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress. With rich historical detail, the celebrated author of Room takes us from puritan Massachusetts to revolutionary New Jersey, antebellum Louisiana to the Toronto highway, lighting up four centuries of wanderings that have profound echoes in the present. Astray offers us a surprising and moving history for restless times.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

0 Audiobook Review: Shadowsong

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones
Narrated by Eva Kaminsky
 10 hours and 38 minutes
Published December 20, 2018 by Recorded Books


Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her. 

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world—or the ones Liesl loves—is in her hands?

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All my opinions are my own.

My Thoughts

I loved Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. I devoured the book in almost one sitting. It was with great anticipation that I was finally able to read/listen to Shadowsong. The book is narrated by Eva Kaminsky, who does a wonderful job. It also helped to hear out loud how some of the names in Shadowsong are pronounced. Though I didn't love this second book as much as I did the first, I'm glad I listened to it as an audiobook.

If you haven't read the first book, I suggest you start there, or Shadowsong won't make much sense. The story picks up about six months after the first book ends. From the beginning, the pace was slow. Liesl mourns over her austere young man. Her world is somber and the tone is reflected in the writing. At the beginning of the novel, Jae-Jones issues a trigger warning. Her main character suffers from bi-polar disorder. Even Josef suffers from depression. I tried to keep this knowledge at the forefront of my mind while reading, because at times the story felt a little tedious. I could tell what the writer was trying to do, but didn't quite make it, at least in the first half of the book.

The second half, however, had more grit to it. It felt as if the story was finally coming together. The pace picked up, and I was more invested in the characters. The ending was something readers will be satisfied with. I am sorry to say that I didn't love this book, because I really really wanted to. Overall I did like it, though. The beginning was tough to get through, but I think it's worth it to get to the other side. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

2 LACEWOOD By Jessica James #Lacewood #JessicaJames #Giveaway #BookBlast #HFVBTBlogTours

Lacewood by Jessica James

Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Patriot Press
eBook; 348 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Sometimes love is just too powerful for one lifetime…

Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about trusting in fate, letting go of the past, and believing in things that can’t be seen.

MOVING TO A SMALL TOWN in Virginia is a big change for New York socialite Katie McCain. But when she stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion, she’s enthralled by the enduring beauty of the neglected estate—and captivated by the haunting portrait of a woman in mourning.

Purchasing the property on a whim, Katie attempts to fit in with the colorful characters in the town of New Hope, while trying to unravel the mystery of the “widow of Lacewood.” As she pieces together the previous owner’s heartrending story, Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries, and discovers the key to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.

The past and present converge when hometown hero Will Durham returns and begins his own healing process by helping the “city girl” restore the place that holds so many memories. As the mystic web of destiny is woven, a love story that might have been lost forever is exposed, and a destiny that has been waiting in the shadows for centuries is fulfilled.

Rich in emotion and poignant in its telling, Lacewood is an unforgettable story about love and loss, roots and belonging…and spirits of the past that refuse to be quieted.

A haunting story from award-winning author Jessica James that connects the past with the present—and the present with eternity.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Jessica James is an award-winning author of suspense, historical fiction, and military fiction ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern day. Her highly acclaimed Civil War novel Shades of Gray won numerous national literary awards, and is often compared to Gone with the Wind.

By weaving the principles of courage, devotion, duty, and dedication into each book, James attempts to honor the unsung heroes of the American military--past and present--and to convey the magnitude of their sacrifice and service. Her novels appeal to both men and women and are featured in library collections all over the United States including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

James resides in Gettysburg, Pa., and is a member of the Military Writers Society of America, NINC, Sisters in Crime, and the Romance Writers of America. She is a two-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and was featured in the book 50 Authors You Should Be Reading, published in 2010.

Sign up for her free newsletter at and ask for a free copy of From the Heart: Civil War Love Letters and Stories. You can also find Jessica on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, June 18

Wednesday, June 19

Thursday, June 20

Friday, June 21

Saturday, June 22

Sunday, June 23

Monday, June 24

Tuesday, June 25

Wednesday, June 26

Thursday, June 27

Friday, June 28


During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.


Monday, June 17, 2019

0 Review: Realm by Alexandrea Weis

by Alexandrea Weis
Paperback, 397 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Vesuvian Books


Based on a true story.

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.

Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

History tells his story. This is hers.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by it.

My Thoughts

Realm by Alexandrea Weis tells the story of Alexander the Great's first wife, Roxana. The story begins after the defeat of Darius III, when Alexander invaded Persia. He fell immediately in love with Roxana, the beautiful daughter of a Bactrian nobleman named Oxyartes, Despite the objections from his generals, he married her. And thus began her marriage to one of history's most famous men. 

The price of being the wife of Alexander the Great is high. His kingdom is full of strife, warfare, jealousy, gossip, and plots. Roxana must learn to navigate these tepid waters or drown. With her lady's maid, Morella, Roxana bravely takes on the task at hand and becomes not only a wife to Alexander, but a trusted friend as well.

Not much is known about Roxana. History hasn't recorded much about her. You may find a paragraph here and there, but I imagine she'd have to be a pretty strong woman to deal with all she dealt with. Because of the lack of historical detail, Weis has to fill in the gaps, and there are a lot of them, as to what Roxana's life must have been like. 

Realm is an interesting read. It's full of romance and political intrigue. Some of the dialog felt a bit too modern for this time period. I enjoyed the historical elements including Weis' reference to Achilles/Patroclus being Alexander/Hephaestion. Weis does go into some detail about the comparison, but I would have loved it if she went a little more in depth. Realm felt more historical fiction than historical romance, but in the end was a satisfying read.

Friday, June 14, 2019

0 Review: Stoker's Wilde

Stoker's Wilde
by Steven Hopstaken,  Melissa Prusi
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 9th 2019 by Flame Tree Press

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for review. It has in no way influenced my opinion.


Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a mysterious madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will. With the help of a European vampire expert, a spirited actress and an American businessman, our heroes fight werewolves, vampires and the chains of Victorian morality. The action will take them to dark forests in Ireland, through the upper-class London theater world and culminates in an exciting showdown at Stonehenge, where Bram and Oscar must stop a vampire cult from opening the gates of Hell. 

My Thoughts

Where did Bram Stoker get the idea for Dracula? Where did Oscar Wilde get his inspiration for The Picture of Dorian Gray? Both of these classic novels have embedded themselves in our culture since they were created. Perhaps it's the search for immortality that intrigues readers. Or perhaps it's something deeper, something more sinister. 

Before Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde created their literary masterpieces, these two gentlemen were thrown together in an adventure to stop supernatural forces from taking over England and opening the gates of Hell. Stoker and Wilde don't get along well, especially after Stoker steals Wilde's fiance. But they must put aside their differences for the good of all mankind.

Stoker's Wilde is told in the form of epistles, journal entries, and telegrams. I liked this approach to telling the story. Although, a few times, I felt it slowed the pace down a little too much. The authors used facts from Stoker and Wilde and blended them flawlessly with fiction. Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi have written an intriguing twist on two interesting literary superstars. 

The characters are based on real people that I don't really know a lot about. It was easy to suspend any belief that I had about them to engross myself in this novel. Besides the occasional pacing problem, I really enjoyed this novel. I felt it was on par with the literary masterpieces of Stoker and Wilde. If you're into Gothic horror, you might want to check out this book.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

0 Mysteries are revealed—both psychological and physical: Week 8 of Sync's Summer of #Audiobooks

Available for a Limited Time
Remember — grab these titles before they are replaced by a new pairing on 6/20/2019! While the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to keep and listen to at your leisure. 

Download this week's free audiobooks.

by Ursula Dubosarsky | Read by Kate Rudd
Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

There were only eleven of them, like eleven sisters all the same age in a large family.... On the television news they heard gunfire and the sound of helicopter blades and bombs falling. The little girls hung on to the brink of a hugeness that they knew was there but had no way of discovering. The Vietnam War rages overseas, but back at home, in a year that begins with the hanging of one man and ends with the drowning of another, eleven schoolgirls embrace their own chilling history when their teacher abruptly goes missing on a field trip. Who was the mysterious poet they met in the garden? What actually happened that day? And most important, who can they tell about it? In beautifully crafted prose that shimmers and fades, Ursula Dubosarsky reveals how a single shared experience can alter the course of young lives forever. Part gripping thriller, part ethereal tale of innocence lost, The Golden Day is a poignant study of fear and friendship, and of what it takes to come of age with courage.

by Mary Roach | Read by Emily Woo Zeller

Published by Tantor Audio

"America's funniest science writer" (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts. Like all of Roach's books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

1 Of Knights and Dogfights Book Blast and Giveaway #OfKnightsandDogfights #EllieMidwood #BookBlast #HFVBTBlogTours

Of Knights and Dogfights: A WWII Novel by Ellie Midwood

Publication Date: January 4, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 426 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

“Has it ever occurred to you, Johann; the fact that we’re fighting on the wrong side?”

Austria, 1938

On the verge of the most devastating war of all times, four young men found themselves sharing a room in a flying school dormitory. A bohemian Berliner, a Flieger-Hitlerjugend member, a prodigy pilot, and a butcher’s son, with nothing in common but their love for the Luftwaffe and the freedom the sky has to offer. The bond they develop is put to the test by what might be a stronger adversary - war itself. Over the English Channel, in the dusty skies of Africa, on the brutal Eastern front, they will discover where their loyalty lies, and what true bravery means.

“It’s Großdeutsches Reich, soldier. When one has a family at home, it doesn’t leave him many chances for the revolt.”

As the war progresses, Willi and Johann grow more and more disillusioned with the regime they’re protecting with their lives. An SS unit appearing on their base to claim one of their own; bits of conversation revealing the truth about the extermination program accidentally overheard during the official reception - the pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together, but it’s too late to do anything but fight to the bitter end, whatever it may bring.

Set during one of the bloodiest wars in history, “Of Knights and Dogfights” is the story of the shattered illusions of youth, tyranny and freedom, friendship and love guiding one out of the darkest hell of Soviet captivity.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Ellie Midwood is a best-selling, award-winning historical fiction writer. She's a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew and a doggie mama.

Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Readers' Favorite - winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) - "The Girl from Berlin: Standartenfuhrer's Wife"

Readers' Favorite - winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) - "The Austrian" (honorable mention)

New Apple - 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing - "The Austrian" (official selection)

For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

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We have one paperback copy of Of Knights and Dogfights up for grabs! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

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Of Knights and Dogfights

Monday, June 10, 2019

0 Audiobook Review: Things My Son Needs To Know About The World

Things My Son Needs to Know about the World
by Fredrik Backman
Narrated by Santino Fontana
Length: 3 hrs and 10 mins
256 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Simon Schuster Audio 
 (ISBN13: 9781508258698)

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review.


The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove shares an irresistible and moving collection of heartfelt, humorous essays about fatherhood, providing his newborn son with the perspective and tools he’ll need to make his way in the world. 

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World collects the personal dispatches from the front lines of one of the most daunting experiences any man can experience: fatherhood.

As he conveys his profound awe at experiencing all the “firsts” that fill him with wonder and catch him completely unprepared, Fredrik Backman doesn’t shy away from revealing his own false steps and fatherly flaws, tackling issues both great and small, from masculinity and mid-life crises to practical jokes and poop.

In between the sleep-deprived lows and wonderful highs, Backman takes a step back to share the true story of falling in love with a woman who is his complete opposite, and learning to live a life that revolves around the people you care about unconditionally. Alternating between humorous side notes and longer essays offering his son advice as he grows up and ventures out into the world, Backman relays the big and small lessons in life, including:

-How to find the team you belong to
-Why airports explain everything about religion and war
-The reason starting a band is crucial to cultivating and keeping friendships
-How to beat Monkey Island 3
-Why, sometimes, a dad might hold onto his son’s hand just a little too tight

My Thoughts

Elizabeth Stone said, “Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”  I don't think a truer sentence has ever been written. I have two hearts walking around outside my body as I write this. One is about to embark on the world while the other still has a few years before she will begin her journey. 

As time was coming to a close on my son's high school career, I couldn't help but wonder if I taught him everything he needs to know about the world. Have we covered all the important things at least? Fredrik Backman and I are at opposite ends of Phase I in the parenting spectrum. (Phase I is years 0-18. The years when you are one of the most influential people in your child's life.) 

I enjoy Backman's writing immensely. I remember when I first read A Man Called Ove. I laughed out load and cried all in the same chapter. His story encompasses what it means to find your tribe, your family. You fall in love with his characters, which aren't always likeable in the beginning. But they become endearing in the end. It's because of this book I was curious to read Things My Son Needs to Know About the World. I chose audiobook format because I love audiobooks, and Backman's books are highly enjoyable in audiobook format. Seriously, check them out if you haven't already.

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is narrated by Santino Fontana. He does a wonderful job bringing Backman's essays to life. He reads the book with the depth and humor the author intended. Fontana makes you feel as if you are in a one-on-one conversation about parenthood. It almost seems unreal that this book is a little over three hours long because it's chocked full of charming and amusing anecdotes, as well as more serious topics. 

I also love how Backman doesn't try to come off as a parenting expert. He acknowledges his missteps. He embraces his flaws. And I think that's why this book is so endearing. It speaks from the heart. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is the perfect book for parents, no matter what phase of life your children are in. It's definitely perfect for fathers, who will probably love this book even more than I do. I can honestly say, this is one of the best parenting books out there. Do yourself a favor and read it.


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